Security Experts:

Mobile Threats a Top Concern for 2011

Mobile Threats a Top Concern in 2011 According to Several Industry Reports

Threats targeting the fast growing smartphone and tablet markets top the list of cyber concerns in 2011 according to a report released today by M86 Security Labs and echoed by several other firms and recent reports.

"In 2010, we've seen dramatic increases in issues regarding mobile malware, as well as growing complexity of Trojan horse attacks in the banking industry," says Bradley Anstis, vice president of technical strategy, M86 Security. "And although Malware-as-a-Service isn't new, we're seeing it take hold. New service offerings signal that the shift may become more prominent in the coming year. In the same way that cloud computing is growing for commercial organizations, cybercrime is also moving this same way."Mobile Security Threats

A report released last week from data security firm Imperva shared the same concern, with its experts predicting mobile devices being compromised resulting in data theft or loss as a result of lagging security measures such as identification and authentication and the spread of mobile malware. Commenting on the report, Imperva CTO Amichai Schulman said "The threat landscape will evolve in many directions, making data security more challenging than ever. The biggest potential impact will be caused by the proliferation of sophisticated mobile devices interacting with corporate networks. I believe that next year will bring the first major data breaches as a result of compromised devices.”

Zenprise, a provider of enterprise mobile management software, shared concerns on mobile as well in its "Top Five Predictions for Enterprise Mobility in 2011." The company said that in addition to preventing traditional security threats and vulnerabilities such as malware on devices themselves, mobile security requires defining the policies, rights, and content workers receive on their devices. In 2011, companies will require increasingly sophisticated mobile security solutions that span multiple management layers including the network, device and application levels. "The definition of a network endpoint is rapidly evolving -- what used to be limited to desktops and laptops is quickly evolving to encompass devices ranging from smartphones to mobile computing devices," said Jayaram Bhat, CEO of Zenprise. "As a result, mobile management and security in 2011 will require taking a broader, more holistic approach that encompasses the people, the technology, and the business process."

Websense, in its 2010 Threat Report released last earlier this month, offered some predictions for 2011 and noted that the continued consumerization of mobile devices such as iPhones and Android devices and the increasing amounts of financial data that touch these devices make them ripe future targets. The report also warned that mobile applications will open the door for unintended security vulnerabilities.

The M86 Security Labs Predictions 2011 Report examines threats and attacks from the past year and predicts noteworthy trends in cyber security for which organizations should prepare in the year ahead. The company’s top prediction is that the exploding smartphone market and growing tablet demand will lead to more mobile malware.

While the RIM operating system continues to dominate, Google's Android operating system, and phones running the Google OS, have seen tremendous growth over the last year, including announcements of their adoption into the growing tablet market. While Apple is more strict than Google on its application approval, both vendors have begun to see more vulnerabilities in each of their platforms, with some rogue applications and malware. In addition, in 2010 the ZeuS Trojan targeted a two-factor authentication component on phones running the Symbian operating system, highlighting the fact that smartphones and all mobile platforms are on the radar of cybercriminals.

"The vulnerabilities and predictions outlined in this report are intended to provide an overview of what is likely to be a much larger set of threats in the coming year. Smartphone adoption in the enterprise will only continue to grow, and, as the focus shifts toward the tablet platform, we anticipate malware targeting all of the mobile platforms to increase in 2011," says Anstis.

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